World's first public-private cord blood bank launched in UKBMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39115.513762.DB (Published 08 February 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:277
- Susan Mayor
Obstetricians and midwives are calling for discussions on the logistics of collecting umbilical cord blood for banking, after the launch of the world's first dual private and public cord blood stem cell bank in the United Kingdom.
The Virgin Health Bank will provide parents with the facility to store their child's umbilical cord blood in two portions—one as a private sample for the sole use of the child and his or her family and the second as a public sample, available free of charge to anyone requiring stem cell transplantation.
It is expected that about 80% of each sample will be placed in the public bank and 20% held in the private bank, although this will depend on the individual cord blood sample, stem cell expansion, and whether cells meet the regulatory requirements for the international transplantation registry.
Storage of umbilical cord blood has been growing in popularity in the past few years, with private banks being established in several countries. Umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can be used to treat patients with abnormal haematopoietic cell lines, childhood leukaemia, and a range of immune and metabolic diseases. Cord blood is cheaper and easier to obtain than bone marrow and less likely to be rejected by the recipient.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists welcomed the public nature and the international accessibility of the Virgin Health Bank. However, it warned in a statement, “Our prime concern remains …